St. Bonaventure University

School of Arts & Sciences Faculty

Benington, Joel


School of Arts and Sciences

Professor, Biology
Director of the Bioinformatics Program
Director of the Health & Society Program
Office phone: (716) 375-2564
FAX: (716) 375-7618
Send an email
De La Roche 220 D 
  • BIO 105. Biological Science I with laboratories 
  • BIO 106. Biological Science II with laboratories 
  • BIO 294. Genomics 
  • BIO 350. Neurobiology with laboratory 
  • BIO 399. Junior Biology Seminar 
  • BIO 460. Biochemistry Seminar 
  • HON 118. Early Human Life and Culture 
  • HON 121. Human Nature and Spirituality 
  • HON 125. The Old World Encounters the New 
  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • B.A., St. John's College

Notable publications 

  • Benington JH. Fundamentals of electroencephalography and other biopotentials. In: Fundamentals of Sleep Technology, ed. Butkov L and Lee-Chiong T. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins, 2007.
  • Frank MG and Benington JH. The role of sleep in memory consolidation and brain plasticity: Dream or reality? The Neuroscientist, 12: 477-488, 2006. 
  • Benington JH. Homeostatic and circadian influences. In: Sleep Deprivation: Basic Science, Physiology, and Behavior, ed. Kushida CA. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2005.
  • Benington JH and Frank MG. Cellular and molecular connections between sleep and synaptic plasticity. Progress in Neurobiology 69: 71-101, 2003.
  • Benington JH. Debating how REM sleep is regulated. Journal of Sleep Research 11:29-31, 2002.
  • Veasey SC, Valladares O, Fenik P, Kapfhamer D, Sanford L, Benington J, Bucan M.   An automated system for recording and analysis of sleep in mice. Sleep 23:1025-40, 2000.
  • Horan SM and Benington JH. A protocol for using electronic messaging to facilitate academic committee deliberations. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 22:187-197, 2000.
  • Benington JH. Sleep homeostasis and the function of sleep. Sleep 23:959-966, 2000.
  • Benington JH and Heller HC. Implications of sleep deprivation experiments for our understanding of sleep homeostasis. Sleep 22:1033-1037, 1999.
  • Benington JH. Why we believe what we believe about REM-sleep regulation. In: Rapid-Eye Movement Sleep, ed. Mallick BM and Inoue S. New Delhi: Narosa Publishing House, 1999.
  • Swanson RA, Benington JH. Astrocyte glucose metabolism under normal and pathological conditions in vitro. Developmental Neurobiology 18:515-521, 1996.
  • Benington JH, Woudenberg MC, Heller HC. Apamin, a selective SK potassium channel blocker, suppresses REM sleep without a compensatory rebound. Brain Research 692:86-92, 1995.
  • Benington JH, Kodali SK, Heller HC. Stimulation of A1 adenosine receptors mimics the electroencephalographic effects of sleep deprivation. Brain Research 692:79-85,  1995.
  • Benington JH, Heller HC. Monoaminergic and cholinergic modulation of REM-sleep timing in rats. Brain Research 681: 141-146, 1995.
  • Benington, JH, Heller, HC. Restoration of brain energy metabolism as the function of sleep. Progress in Neurobiology 45:347-360, 1995.
  • Benington JH, Woudenberg MC, Heller HC. REM-sleep propensity accumulates during two-hour REM-sleep deprivation in the rest period in rats. Neuroscience Letters 180:76-80, 1994.
  • Benington JH, Heller HC. Does the function of REM sleep concern non-REM sleep or waking? Progress in Neurobiology 44:433-449, 1994.
  • Benington JH, Heller HC. REM-sleep timing is controlled homeostatically by accumulation of REM-sleep propensity during non-REM sleep. American Journal of Physiology 266: R1992-R2000, 1994.
  • Benington JH, Kodali SK, Heller HC. Scoring transitions to REM sleep in rats based on the EEG phenomena of pre-REM sleep: an improved analysis of sleep structure. Sleep 17:28-36, 1994.

Scanned reprints of the above articles are provided as a courtesy for educational and research use only. They should not be further disseminated without permission of the publishers.


My scholarly interests are wide-ranging, including the following:

  • In collaboration with Craig Heller at Stanford University, I have proposed hypotheses linking the function of sleep to brain energy metabolism, and linking the function of REM sleep to events taking place during nonREM sleep.
  • In collaboration with Marcos Frank at University of Pennsylvania, I have proposed a range of possible cellular and molecular connections between sleep and synaptic plasticity.
  • I have written a textbook titled How Science Really Works, which uses historical examples of major scientific advances to show how scientists have figured out the workings of the physical world. This textbook is used in all sections of  University’s liberal-arts core course Inquiry in the Natural World (Clare 302).
  • I am completing work on a book titled Born to Care: How Devotion to Others Became Part of Human Nature, which shows how human altruism has evolved and how caring for others is essential for human fulfillment.
  • I am interested in a number of other subjects, some of which have been and will be discussed in my personal blog. According to Google, I am the world’s leading pro-human extremist.

My laboratory research in collaboration with students at St. Bonaventure University has included studies of:

  • the effects of sleep deprivation on cellular energy metabolism in rats (in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University)
  • the effects of oxidative stress on cellular energy metabolism and ADP ribose production in primary cultures of astrocytes (in collaboration with Dr. Raymond Swanson at University of California at San Francisco)
  • changes in cellular energy metabolism in association with starvation-induced sexual reproduction inTetrahymena thermophila and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

In these projects, we have used high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to measure ATP, ADP, AMP, NAD, phosphocreatine, and ADP ribose concentrations in cellular extracts. Measurement of the concentrations of these molecules indicates the metabolic energy state of the cells in question.